Managing or parenting, it's almost interchangeable

6 years ago

“Disciplining your child is a challenge all parents face. Decisions revolve around what is the right amount of discipline and what is too much.

“Here’s a third thought, what if when you asked your children to do something, they did it right away?”

Thus, began a post I started using a co-workers notes on an audio program she had recorded with a family life counselor. When the co-worker reviewed my output, she grimaced, tore it up and rewrote the whole dang thing, noting, “That's not what we talked about at all.”

Carol Doane's desk
I put some time and effort into my scribblings and thought I should get some mileage out of it. So, I rewrote the piece for a potential post on my business blog, but I changed it.

Here's what I mean: “What if, when you asked your employees to do something they did it right away?”

[The full re-write comes in here...] That is the approach, author and family life counselor, Diane Moore takes when she addresses this issue with parents. Moore calls it ‘first time obedience.’ She backs up her technique with real life experience and feedback from the families she’s counseled.

As a manager, you may want to borrow some of Moore's parenting techniques and try them on your employees. Consider her assertion that once you have to say something twice, you’ve made yourself weak. She suggests, say it once and get action. How? Moore uses a simple 3-step process, but don’t try it just one time and give up. To see measurable results in behavior, you’ll need to try these 3-steps on your employees for at least a month.

The first step is to avoid questions. Being a manager is a position of authority, and not one of peer-to-peer, so Moore recommends beginning with a statement. “Please clean your desk.”

If the employee takes no action, move to step two.

The second step is a question, but offered in the form of alternatives, for instance, “Do you want to clean your desk, or would you like me to?” Over time, employees learn that the choices the manager offers may have negative side effects, especially when they don’t respond quickly.

The third step, well, Moore suggests you ask employees to leave the conference room for this one. It is the secret that makes the technique work. The manager needs to not ‘care’ what decision the employee makes.

Overall, Moore’s advice is for leaders to give themselves time to see the results of using the 3-steps, and to keep up their efforts, even when the employees don’t appreciate it. She says, “Don’t expect adult behavior and don’t expect perfection. Prepare for the long haul.”

She even seems to imply employees may not thank you until they retire!

This isn’t about win or lose. For Diane Moore the goal is to help leaders develop employees with good problem solving skills who have the ability to build healthy relationships. She encourages managers to let their employees know they are appreciated exactly how they are made. “They’ll feel like their gifts are respected and will be motivated to manage themselves better.”

If you have parenting questions, feel free to listen to the audio program and read the correct post here. If you leave a comment on the real post, you could even win a book on parenting.

If you have employee questions, feel free to make something up. It appears I did.



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